Water meant for Marathwada not going to Gujarat: Fadnavis

Garnering support: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at a rally as part of Mahajanadesh Yatra at Pathri in Parbhani district on Thursday.  

Stating that no water from the Konkan region intended for Marathwada is going to Gujarat, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said his government is committed to giving the arid region 52 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water through the Nar-Par-Tapi river linking project.

“We are not giving even a single drop of water to Gujarat… our government is determined to save the water that drains from the Konkan region into the sea and bring it to Marathwada. Five rivers are to be linked for this project for which our Cabinet has already given its approval,” he told reporters during the course of the BJP’s Mahajanadesh Yatra in Jalna district.

The State Cabinet in July had given its nod to complete the Nar-Par-Tapi and the Damanganga–Pinjal river linking projects to mitigate the water woes of Marathwada and areas of Mumbai city. The projects have been hanging fire for years owing to technical disputes over water sharing with Gujarat.

The Nar-Par-Tapi linking project, which is a combination of a lift irrigation scheme, tunnels and canals, will ensure 52 tmcft water for Marathwada and parts of north Maharashtra. Mr. Fadnavis said the injustice being suffered by Marathwada is that it has never received its rightful share of 102 tmcft despite dams and water projects in place as the water flows away in different directions and remains unutilised.

“To remedy this deficit, our government has made plans [in the form of the Marathwada water grid project] to ensure that the region gets its rightful due [of 102 tmcft] in addition to extra water that will be brought through river linking projects,” the CM said.

Mr. Fadnavis said the State has taken Israel’s assistance to help solve the region’s water crisis. “Israel is considered to be an expert in water planning. We have received substantial inputs from them and I’m confident there will not be any water scarcity in any Marathwada village after the completion of the water grid project.”

On the Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner’s decision to recommend the State to dissuade farmers in Marathwada from planting sugar cane, Mr. Fadnavis said, “From what I gather, the recommendations to dissuade farmers from cultivating sugar cane are on the grounds that the crop guzzles water. There are no two opinions on this, as all studies since 2007 have urged to reduce sugar cane cultivation in this region. But we have to give farmers an alternative.”

He said farmers in Marathwada must switch 100% to drip irrigation to cultivate sugar cane to tackle water woes. “Right now, we are giving those farmers almost 80% subsidy as an incentive to switch over to micro irrigation. If we enforce this, we can save large quantities of water. Secondly, we are mulling over farmers can take to cultivating an alternative crop in a 100% ‘dry land’ area or in areas where rainfall has been extremely scarce for the last 10 years,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 10:45:50 PM |

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